Issues of Faith and Home

I have a quandary. I don’t talk about my religion much on this blog, for somewhat obvious reasons. I want it to be a safe place for all of my readers regardless of their religious background. But at the moment, I’m struggling with an issue and it helps me to write about it, so please bear with me.

I’m on the horns of a dilemma with my religious life. You see, I’ve found a lovely little church here in my adopted hometown. They’re terrific people and they make me feel warmly welcomed whenever I attend. Like all churches, we have some challenges, not the least of which is that we’re pretty small and it’s difficult to accomplish all the things we want to do, because we simply don’t have the scale and enough energy (read: volunteers) to carry out our vision.

To solve that (and for a myriad of other reasons I won’t detail here), we’re in talks to merge with another congregation. It’s a long story, because our church was formed by a group that split off from this other congregation in the first place. It’s personally complicated for me because the likely meeting site is a long way from where I live, out in the country, and on a two-lane county highway that I suspect isn’t very hospitable in the winter time. In fact, I had initially thought about attending this other church when we first moved here and opted not to because of the distance.

I’m also concerned because I suspect that if we do merge the congregations, the things that attracted me to this congregation in the first place may change.  It’s our warm welcome, our friendly nature, and the fact that we make everyone feel comfortable in our midst, that made me want to be part of it in the first place.  Without that, my church home won’t feel like “home.”

Perhaps I’m letting my fear get ahead of me – after all, no decision has yet been made – but I am pretty sure that if we do vote to merge, I’ll be out on my own again, going through the not-so-awesome process of finding a church home. That makes me sad. It also makes me wonder where God is in all of this, and what He/She really wants to see happen here. Was there a grander vision for this little congregation? Or perhaps this was meant to happen all along, and healing the schism from 5 years ago is the right answer?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you experienced the loss of your “spiritual home?” If so, how did you handle it? Would you do it that way again?

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4 thoughts on “Issues of Faith and Home

  1. Considering that it is a part of your home, you may want to voice your concerns on the distance thing. I am sure there are others who may be put off, especially in terms of inclement weather. My experiences with a division is that it usually takes a very long time of negotiating before changes can be made and often it requires concessions on both parts. I do wonder if there is a way to pool the resources of the two congregations while still maintaining autonomy? I suppose it depends on the denomination as well as the individual members, like all things do, but if it is matter of funds it might be worth it to talk with someone on the district level for financial help (if your denominations has that kind of set up, and I know not all of them do.) If it is a matter of man power, might it be possible to do an equal exchange with the other church? By which I mean they come and help with some of the larger events you want to complete and in return some of your church go over there to aid in their efforts? I think that as long as there isn’t an unequal balance of power/leadership should a merger happen you may be able to still maintain the feeling of home. I realize this reply is crazy long, but hopefully it was at least a tiny bit helpful.

  2. Gerald Lenavitt says:

    Hi Mardee. My wife and I (She has passed on now), had to change churches, for a number of reasons. I must admit that it was unsettling for for us both. My wife was raised in that church and I had belonged to it for 35 years. We had to look around quite a bit till we found a wonderful, friendly country church close us. (7 miles away) We had decided to put it in God’s hands and pray about it. As it turned out, it was the most wonderful thing that perhaps ever happened to us. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes the The Lord works out things for us and we have to give him a chance help us. The old saying, “Try it, you may like it.” Could possibly apply here. You can always make a change if it doesn’t. Pray about it! You seem like a really good woman and I’m sure The Lord will answer your prayers with guidance. My Best, Jerry

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